By Catholic Digest Staff
St. Elizabeth Ann Seton
Feast Day: January 4
Born just two years before the United States won its independence from England, Elizabeth Ann Bayley was the daughter of New York City’s first health officer.
Her mother passed away when she was only three, and her father, a renowned physician and anatomy professor at King’s College (later to become Columbia University) saw that she received an unusually good education.
She excitedly read books from her father’s library and was extremely passionate about nursing the sick, particularly the poor.
She eventually founded the Daughters of Charity of St. Joseph, which opened schools and taught in orphanages.
Her Order is regarded as the founders of the American parochial school system. Pope Paul VI declared her a Saint in 1975, with over a thousand nuns from her order present at the ceremony.
She is the first native-born American citizen to be canonized, and is buried in Emmitsburg, Maryland.